TEATT Minister Ludmila de Weever giving the welcome address at Islandpreneur Live 2020.
PHILIPSBURG--The three-day virtual summit Islandpreneur Live 2020 attracted 650 registrants from more than 35 countries, of which the majority were Caribbean countries.
Hosted by Ife Badejo of Produce Wealth Revolution (PWR) Agency, this summit was designed to empower Caribbean entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital world and be more resilient, according to the release by PWR.
The summit was streamed live from the offices of TelEm Group, the official telecom partner for Islandpreneur Live 2020. There was stable Internet over the course of the three days and no glitches caused by the Internet.
The virtual summit opened with a welcome word from Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever.
The minister praised the organisers for hosting such an event to help inspire and create connections to facilitate entrepreneurship. De Weever explained that entrepreneurship is the “very backbone of our economy on St. Maarten” and emphasised that doing business digitally is a means to overcome the challenges related to size and to “craft a more resilient and robust economy.”
Though all sessions were greatly appreciated, some highlights of Islandpreneur Live 2020 were the masterclasses “Islandpreneurs & Digital Payments”, “StartUp Finance” and the roundtable discussion “Get Paid Online”, which were all hosted by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS).
Glensher Maduro, Head of the Digital Payments Department of CBCS shared the advancements that CBCS has already made to facilitate instant payments and the impact this has on business growth, whether online or in person.
Following this masterclass on June 24, Natasha Chatlein – keynote speaker of the day – helped to facilitate the round-table discussion. One of the key takeaways of the round table, which had panellists Renato Ignacio, software engineer and founder of Minubia.com and Luis Santine, financial expert and founder of CXPay, was the importance of Islandpreneurs using regional-payment processors to influence the banks to fully embrace the new normal of doing business.
Though bank representatives were not included in these discussions, it became clear that banks have a very strategic role to play in facilitating digital payments and may not be operating at the same speed of adaptation for a variety of reasons.
The virtual summit had three keynote speakers. Chatlein, based in Silicon Valley, California, shared the opportunities to ensure economic resilience and open other economic drivers by making a global-tech hub in the region.
Leslie Samuel, internationally acclaimed social-media and online-business expert originally from St. Maarten, described his story from securing a professorship at a reputable university without having the necessary Doctorate requirement, based on his early start in doing YouTube videos to teach his students.
Samuel shared videos and provided a five-step process on how to monetise ideas online and best practices of doing so, including some tools he uses.
The final keynote address was given by Jeff Hoffman. He shared the importance of “Islandpreneurs” focusing not on how to get the world to the islands but on how to take the islands to world.
Hoffman shared a global process to move forward during uncertainty and even gave action points on how to maximise this process. The three points were: repurpose, retool and redeploy. He emphasised that we should all look to solve global problems and not limit ourselves to islands.
The summit ended with closing remarks from Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion. Irion expressed his delight in being a part of this summit and the developments happening in the region.
As it pertains to St. Maarten, Irion announced that there will be monthly financial-literacy webinars to educate the public on the government budget and thereafter, on budgeting in general.
There will be also a Financial Literacy Month in schools that will start with secondary schools. These activities will be hosted by the Ministry of Finance. Irion aspires to be part of the few public administrations in the world that lead innovation. For that reason, his cabinet is actively promoting fintech and will host a blockchain conference in November with CBCS.
Following the minister’s address, Badejo, the executive producer of Islandpreneur Live 2020 and founder of PWR Agency, made a toast to the success and a new era of Islandpreneurship that impacts the world, which started the island’s first virtual happy hour and wine tasting event.
Barefoot Wine and Bubbly and Prime Distributors hosted the “Islandpreneur Happy Hour” with the bearded bartender, Paul Peterson. Attendees were able to ask questions directly to the bartender on how best to pair wine with foods and why.
The organising team for the event included Dwayne Griffith, Chief Impact Officer of PWR Agency, Kerai Kreative Style, which focused on strategic marketing, and Optimize Curaçao that designed the website and managed its search engine optimisation (SEO). Shekina Dare from CBCS, played an important role as well in the organisation of the event.
Aicon Media, covered the entire three days to capture photos and video of this unprecedented experience.
For a limited time, the recordings will be made available for free to all those who registered for Islandpreneur Live 2020. The entire three-day experience, including the virtual happy hour and wine tasting, was complimentary.
Organisers thanked all the registrants, speakers, volunteers and partners such as TelEm Group, CBCS, Urban Adapters, Optimize Curaçao, Kerai Kreative Style and Griffith (PWR) for making Islandpreneur Live 2020 a success.
PWR Agency and partners said it will launch Islandpreneur Network, to further foster relationships, educate, inspire and find funding for Islandpreneurs around the world. To learn more, kindly email